FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND VOYEURISM CHARGES IN AJAX, PICKERING, OSHAWA, COBOURG AND BOWMANVILLE. 416-DEFENCE.
Being charged with a criminal offence can be stressful, especially for those who have never been involved with the criminal justice system before. Voyeurism, as a sexual offence and a privacy offence, is taken very seriously by law enforcement and prosecutors, and carries significant legal and social penalties.
Therefore, it is important to retain legal counsel as soon as possible if charged with any criminal offence and especially if charged with voyeurism. Donich Law has experience representing individuals charged with voyeurism in Oshawa, Ajax, and Bowmanville.
In R. v. O.C. , the Firm successfully defended a client accused of secretly recording up the skirts of women on the Go Train and streaming the footage to his electronic watch. The footage was seized by police. After more than a year of litigation the Firm was able to resolve the matter, avoiding a criminal record for the client.
In R. v. I.B. , Donich Law defended an individual charged with using his cell phone to secretly film up a woman’s skirt in a retail store. Despite law enforcement having the client’s phone with the alleged video on it, counsel successfully resolved the matter without the client receiving a criminal record.
In R. v. R.J.  the Firm defended a client allegedly partaking in a group effort to secretly record women participating in an event in Toronto, successfully negotiating the withdrawal of all voyeurism charges.
In 2017, the Firm represented a client charged with voyeurism and making child pornography after secretly recording his underage relatives using the washroom. The Firm secured his judicial interim release pending trial.
In R. v. J.R. , Donich Law secured the withdrawal of all voyeurism charges against a client charged after posing as the owner of a Toronto strip club to solicit nude images from women.
For more information on how to defend voyeurism charges or how to get voyeurism charges dropped click on these links.
Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.
Toronto Star: Pornhub and Revenge Porn.
Toronto Star: New Corporate Liability for Child Pornography in Canada.
Toronto Star: Police Power and Social Media Companies.
Global News: Can an airline tell you to stop recording and delete a cellphone video?
Métro Montréal: Avec le temps chaud, il n’y a pas que le mercure qui grimpe: le nombre de cas de voyeurisme aussi.
CityNews: As the temperatures outside get warmer, police say the reported number of cases of voyeurism tend to rise.
VICE News: An Image Site is Victimizing Women and Little Can be Done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Voyeurism Cases Easy to Win?
What Charter Defences can I use to Defend Voyeurism?
What other Defences can I use if Charged with Voyeurism?
What are Common Bail Conditions for People Charged with Voyeurism?
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Are Voyeurism Cases Easy to Win?
Voyeurism cases can be difficult to win, as the Crown will usually have and present evidence of the recording devices used and videos or photos taken, or witnesses who will testify that they saw the accused sneakily watching, recording, or placing recording devices. This evidence can be difficult to refute. However, experienced counsel at Donich Law have many strategies for defending voyeurism charges and will conduct independent forensic analysis of all the Crown’s evidence. Counsel will also ensure that any violations of the accused’s rights during the investigation will be addressed.
What Charter Defences can I use to Defend a Voyeurism Charge?
If an accused’s rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the Charter were violated by government actors or representatives during their investigation and prosecution of the accused, the accused may be able to have their case stayed, or some evidence declared inadmissible. This can happen when the accused is unreasonably searched or has their home or electronics unreasonably searched.
Upon arrest for voyeurism, the police may seize any recording devices they find on the accused that they believe were used to commit the offence. They may also obtain a warrant to search the accused’s home and seize any electronics they find that could prove that the accused committed voyeurism. However, they cannot search through these devices without a valid search warrant authorizing this.
Where the police do search through these electronics without the proper authorization, the accused may be able to argue that the police breached their section 8 Charter rights. If successful, this can then result in any evidence found through the unreasonable search becoming inadmissible as evidence at trial. If this evidence was crucial to the Crown’s case against the accused, the Crown might even withdraw the charges instead of proceeding without the evidence.
What Defences Can I Use if Charged with Voyeurism?
There are several strategies available to those looking to defend their voyeurism charges.
The first thing to consider when defending a voyeurism charge is that there are two exceptions to voyeurism outlined in the Criminal Code.
The first exception is the public good exception, which permits acts of voyeurism done to serve the public good. Voyeuristic recordings that are solely made to benefit religion, art, science, general interest matters, or the administration of justice will be considered for the public good. Individuals who make, print, or publish these may not be convicted of voyeurism. The second exception applies to exempt law enforcement officials acting under the authority of a legal search warrant from being convicted of voyeurism.
Besides these exemptions, there are several defences available for those charged with voyeurism.
Those accused of voyeurism could argue that the person they were watching was not in a situation where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy or where it was usual for people to be naked, have their genitals, breasts or anal region exposed, or be engaged in sexual activity. For example, where an individual secretly films people as they walk through a public park, they have not committed voyeurism because the individuals walking through the park are in public and have no reasonable expectation of privacy. As long as the accused has not invaded the privacy of another person, they have not committed voyeurism.
Another argument an accused could raise is that the recording or observation was not made secretly, but that the person or people being observed were aware and even gave their consent to be watched or recorded. This argument can be strengthened by proving that the camera or other recording device used was always visible to everyone.
Finally, the accused could argue that the recording or observation was not for a sexual purpose. For example, where a storeowner installs a camera above their store’s front door and captures someone exposing themselves, the storeowner would not be convicted of voyeurism where they were only recording for security purposes.
If you have been charged with voyeurism or a related offence in Oshawa, Ajax, or Bowmanville, Donich Law can help you devise a defence strategy suited to your circumstances that is likely to provide you with favourable results.
What are Common Bail Conditions for People Charged with Voyeurism?
An accused charged with voyeurism will likely be released from custody pending their trial after being formally arrested and charged. However, they will be subject to several conditions during this time. They will be prohibited from having any contact with the complainant or any witnesses in the case. They may have to reside with a surety, who will assume responsibility for them and who may have to pay or guarantee to pay a sum of money if the accused breaches any of their conditions. They may have to remain at home during certain hours of the day and may only be allowed to leave their residences under the supervision of their surety or to go to work. As voyeurism is often committed using recording devices, they may be prohibited from possessing any such devices, including smartphones, laptops, and webcams. Finally, they may be prohibited from possessing any firearms, and from consuming any alcohol or illicit substances.
Will I Have to go to Jail for Voyeurism?
Individuals convicted of voyeurism may have to go to jail for up to five years, depending on the facts of the case, the circumstances of the accused, and other aggravating and mitigating factors. However, accused individuals convicted of voyeurism could alternatively be sentenced to probation, community service, and/or a fine.
What are Exceptions to Voyeurism?
One exception to voyeurism exists where the voyeuristic act is done to serve the public good, meaning it is done to further the administration of justice or is only for religious, educational, scientific, or artistic purposes. Another exception to voyeurism exists where the voyeuristic act is done by law enforcement acting under the authority of a search warrant.
What if They Wanted me to Watch or Record?
Where all the individuals being watched provided clear and ongoing consent for the accused to be watching or recording, or where they were clearly aware that the accused was watching or recording, the accused will have a strong defence to their voyeurism charge.
What if I did not Record?
A person is still guilty of voyeurism for secretly watching another individual, without permission, in a place where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy or can be expected to be nude or engaged in sexual activity, or where the observation is done for a sexual purpose.
What if no one was Naked?
Even if no one was naked or engaged in sexual activity, the accused will have committed voyeurism where the people being watched or recorded are somewhere they have a reasonable expectation of privacy.